Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Does a Graduating Pediatric Dentist Earn?

So you have done well in college and were accepted into dental school. During this time you have realized that you have a special talent and interest in working with kids. You apply and are accepted into a pediatric residency and spend a couple of more years earning your pediatric dental certification.

Finally, after many years of study and devotion, you are a pediatric dentist! You are now ready to enter the market and find that first job and wonder what is fair and what you can expect to earn. You probably have heard figures from your residency director, co-residents and others in the specialty and the numbers may vary widely. Who is right? They are probably all correct in what they are telling you and the differences can be explained by understanding what they have experienced.
I am an independent recruiter who works exclusively with dental specialists and I spend most of my time with private pediatric dental practices and those looking to hire a pediatric dentist. I work nationally and see daily what practices are offering and new graduates are getting in different areas around the country.
What am I seeing? Nationally, on average, I see base guarantee of around $200,000 which is vs. a % of collections. Most practices pay on a % of collections rather than production since most are participating in a few PPO’s or discounted plans.
To break this down further, the daily guarantee averages between $800 and $1,200. The daily guarantee should become a moot point after one is up and running with a practice and it is there as a floor. With the guarantee, the practice is saying that they are going to have a schedule that will allow you to be productive and, if they do not for a particular day, you will still be paid for your time.
What % are practices paying? Typically it will be between 35% and 45%. A % approach is recommended rather than a flat salary because it allows the associate to be in control of their destiny and they know what they need to produce and then collect in order to reach a certain earnings level. With the % approach vs. a salary, practice owners are not wondering if they are overpaying and associates are not wondering if they are being underpaid and are incentivized to work rather than surfing the internet or other non productive distractions.
Why would one work for 35% when others are getting 45%? I see a good number of graduating pediatric dentists who evaluate a practice opportunity based on the % alone and anything less than 40% or 45% are not of interest to them. What they really need to look at is the nature of the practice to include the patient flow, whether they will be doing a good amount of restorative and the ability to do hospital dentistry and sedations etc. A pediatric dentist can do much better financially in a busy practice paying a lower % vs. a higher end, slower practice paying 45% where they are relegated to hygiene checks and little restorative dentistry. 
Location, Location, Location: That said, the biggest factor in what a new graduate pediatric dentist can and will earn is where they decide to live and practice. This is a simple supply and demand economics equation with some of the best earnings opportunities being in areas that you and I may have never heard of.
What I see is that most of the major metropolitan areas across the country tend to be fairly saturated with pediatric dentists and it can be more challenging for the new graduates to find truly good private practice opportunities. I recommend looking at areas where people are not going and take a position there for a couple of years. You can earn a great deal, gain very valuable experience and make yourself much more marketable and you will find it much easier to get into the market where you really want to be for the long term.
If you have any questions about earnings or the state of pediatric dentistry in certain areas of the country feel free to call me. I will be happy to share with you what I know.
Gary Harris is a nationwide Recruiter for Dental Specialists at ETS Dental. He can be reached at or 540-491-9115. ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Balancing the Chaos - Ten Tips to Create a Better Work Life Balance

I feel like I should start a support group with this introduction, but…
Hi, my name is Tiffany and I suffer from horrible work/life balance.  I work full time, am taking classes online, and I am raising two kids.  Throw into the mix household chores, two dogs, Girl Scouts, viola lessons, marching band, and a plethora of other projects going on at any given time, and you have a snapshot of my life.   Just writing this down is making me nervous.  What am I forgetting that needs to be taken care of or done tonight?!
Crazy thing about my little chaotic snapshot above is I know I am not alone.  Life is crazy anymore.  Looking around my office, each one of us has a handful or two of other activities and responsibilities.  Chances are your office is the same way.  Life happens regardless of your title or position.
So, how do you balance it all?  Initially, I started looking for sites with tips, but I decided it was better to get real life answers so I took my question to my colleagues and Facebook followers.  Some answers were almost universal; some were a little more unique.  Here are some highlights….
Ten things you can do to create a better work life balance

  1. Limit the amounts of time that you do work stuff at home or vice versa.
  2. Use a calendar!  Scheduling events makes it easier to know what is coming up and plan accordingly.  Google Calendar is a favorite for many of those that responded.
  3.  Create lists.  Do what must be done first.  Do what you do not want to do and get it out of the way.  Once something is completed, check it off and move on to the next.
  4. Turn off your alerts; do not be a slave to your phone.  Check your emails on your own terms; not with every beep, buzz, or blinking light.
  5. Take some time for what makes you happy: read a book, watch a movie, go for a run, exercise, or go out for a drink with a friend.
  6. Find some peace.  Pray.  Meditate.  Get a massage. 
  7. Get help!  This was a tough one for me, but there is no reason that my kids couldn’t straighten up the house while they are waiting for me to get home or wash the dishes from breakfast.  They even like starting dinner once in a while. 
  8. Don’t be afraid to let go.  One of my Facebook friends said it best, “When I was working full time, was a full time graduate student and a single mom I achieved balance by letting go of things that do NOT last-dishes, dust and laundry.  Instead, I chose football practice, school activities and a kid flick.”
  9. Say no.  I struggle with this one, but it is okay to not do everything all of the time.  If something is not important to you, let it go and focus on what needs your attention.
  10. Find what works for you.  Take advantage of the time you have; I study on my lunch breaks and can knock out a good bit of my reading without interruptions which helps me immensely.  A colleague wrote, “Having the opportunity to work remotely is a huge thing for me.  It helps me not to feel guilty about going to my kids’ activities (games, etc.) and I make up my time in the evenings when they are engrossed with homework.  Sometimes they will come and hang out in my office as they do their homework and we’ll all be ‘working’ together.” 
I guess I have some pretty smart colleagues and friends!  Of course this is only a small sampling of the ideas out there; what do you to do to make your own chaos work?  I would love to hear what works for you.    

"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. 
-Harvey Mackay 


Tiffany Worstell is a nationwide Recruiter for Dental Staff at ETS Dental. She can be reached at or 540-491-9112. ETS Dental is a Dental Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing General Dentists, Dental Specialists, and Dental Staff throughout the United States.